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Gray Shadows And Bright Lights

Sometime during my teens I watched the 1986 movie “Soul Man” starring C. Thomas Howell. He played a spoiled rich fella who, in order to get into Harvard after his wealthy family refused to pay for college, ingested drugs to make his skin darken. He thus looked African American and became eligible for a minority scholarship. One

Country Girl At Heart

I like cities. I like the parts of my identity that they stimulate. They say, “Ooh la la. I am busy. I am important. I am educated.” I love London. It’s rich in history and tradition and pomp and circumstance. I like Miami. It twists and turn with culture and electricity. The food and the

Too Much Information

I recently prepared an exam for students in my media communications class. It’s a multiple choice test with two essay questions. At some point during the process, I realized four hours had passed and I still had more notes to pore over before I completed the exam. Not only that, I still had proofreading and copy

Losing My Identity

I don’t lose things. I don’t leave my cell phone on store counters, I don’t misplace my keys, and I certainly don’t lose my driver license. But now it seemed to have happened. It was annoying but eventually led to a glorious realization. Fulltime traditional jobs weren’t coming to fruition, a vandal drizzled chocolate syrup

Gray Shadows And Bright Lights

Sometime during my teens I watched the 1986 movie “Soul Man” starring C. Thomas Howell. He played a spoiled rich fella who, in order to get into Harvard after his wealthy family refused to pay for college, ingested drugs to make his skin darken. He thus looked African American and became eligible for a minority scholarship.

One of the scenes that resonated with me involved a white woman–played by Melora Hardin later of the television show “The Office”– who made it a mission to hook up with men of color.

She says dramatically to Howell’s character while she’s seducing him that she doesn’t see black or white, only shades of gray.

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Country Girl At Heart

I like cities. I like the parts of my identity that they stimulate. They say, “Ooh la la. I am busy. I am important. I am educated.”

I love London. It’s rich in history and tradition and pomp and circumstance. I like Miami. It twists and turn with culture and electricity. The food and the lights both entice and delight me.

But cities don’t speak to me generally. They don’t actually talk to me. I feel their energy and love it. But the energy often flashes on its way somewhere else twirling around me in a kaleidoscope of colors.

The ocean, which I love, does speak to me. The ocean says it’s happy I am there and opens little crevasses to microcosmic worlds of crustaceans and plants. The ocean lets me hang out for a while but like I’m a guest. The ocean expects me to leave. It wishes me well each time I am baptized in the salt water and looks forward to seeing me again.

The green grass of Wyoming

But the moment on that day in June when I crossed under the arch to a ranch in Wyoming– despite the darkness– the land began speaking. But it had different things to say than what the ocean shares with me.

The hills are drenched in early summer deep intoxicating green. The grass ripples and ebbs and flows with the wind like an ocean. In Wyoming, peaking sedimentary rocks jut from the tops of scraggly hills. Treeless ridges are covered with grass that looks like velvet and some hills are covered in evergreens. Long lengths of wooden X shaped fences form seemingly useless barriers against what I assume are cold, white snows that blast through during winter and sometimes deep into spring.

Water is everywhere running and dripping down moist hillsides for irrigation. The confluence of two creeks create a constant sound of life and movement.

I didn’t want the land on this Wyoming ranch to talk to me. It knows that. So it first embraced me to make sure I was safe and comfortable enough to accept its message.

Irrigating the Wyoming land

It hasn’t let go of that embrace. It kept me held tight while I took in the sight, sound, smell, feel of the land. And then it started whispering with more urgency to make sure I understood.

It says “Welcome Home.”

Too Much Information

I recently prepared an exam for students in my media communications class. It’s a multiple choice test with two essay questions. At some point during the process, I realized four hours had passed and I still had more notes to pore over before I completed the exam. Not only that, I still had proofreading and copy editing that would follow the exam construction.

First page of an exam taking me too long to design

First page of an exam taking me too long to design

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Losing My Identity

I don’t lose things. I don’t leave my cell phone on store counters, I don’t misplace my keys, and I certainly don’t lose my driver license. But now it seemed to have happened.

It was annoying but eventually led to a glorious realization.

Fulltime traditional jobs weren’t coming to fruition, a vandal drizzled chocolate syrup on the windshield of my car, my cat Saffron found a little brown bat on the balcony and brought it into my bed as a plaything. Several rabies shots and mandatory emergency room visits later, I was looking at debt for the first time in my life because also for the first time in my life I lacked health insurance.
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Just A Warning: Jealous People Might Contact You

My ex-boyfriend John has friended and unfriended me many times on Facebook. Thus, I wasn’t shocked when he unfriended me again recently. I just rolled my eyes and shook my head.

Then I received a personal message from him:

[Unfriending you] was for your own protection. Seriously. The woman. She began to show a very mean, possessive and jealous streak and has begun contacting FB friends. You and about six other females were deleted. Nothing personal. All passwords have been changed just in case. So fed up with dating.

One might find this terribly dramatic and shocking except this is not the first time I have been warned by a man about the possibility of a woman contacting me.

Who's calling? A jealous person.

Who’s calling? A jealous person.

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Exactly What I Imagined

for_sale_SipandGoGirl_FilipowiczWhat if everything is exactly the way that we imagine it to be? For better or worse?

In TV newsrooms across the country in all 210 markets, there are the same types of employees. It’s as though the stations are staffed by Central Casting. There’s the quiet editor who barely says a word to anyone, an overly flirtatious producer, and the reporter who runs around in a panic about every story like he or she is covering the shooting of John F. Kennedy rather than the annual story about chilly weather meaning it’s time to cover your plants, bring in the pets from the outside, and wrap your home’s pipes.

There’s also the curmudgeonly aka bitter photographer. I’ve known a few. One would lean back in a chair in the newsroom every time managers from the corporate office were in town.

“We’re gonna be sold.”
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Lessons From Scooby Doo

No one gets away with anything and everything. You might think that’s true. But it’s not.

My favorite cartoon is Scooby Doo. It’s mostly because I like mysteries and secret passages.

One of my favorite moments during an episode is at the end when Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby tear off the mask of the ghost, zombie, or witch.

“Mr. Jones!”

They’re shocked the bad guy has turned out to be the friendly hotel owner or ship captain.

“Yes and I would’ve gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for these meddling kids.”
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Don’t Tell Me What To Do

True friends and members of my close family found out many years ago the secret. Don’t tell me what to do.

When my sister Renee’ and I were kids, our parents John and Ann created “chore charts” for us. They were hand made calendars, one for Renee’ and one for me. On it were the days of the week cross-listed with various chores including emptying the dishwasher, folding socks, emptying waste baskets, and taking out the garbage. I liked the chart and how it kept me on a nice, little

As I got older and chore charts drifted into the past, chore completion became less regimented. If I noticed the dishwasher needed to be unloaded, then I’d unload it.

But if my parents were to suddenly ask me to unload the dishwasher that day, I would bristle.

Mittens. One of the animals I dooned at my mother

Don’t tell me what to do.
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Letting Go Of Fake Cheese

I am frugal and stubborn. Close family and friends will immediately and passionately agree.

Fake cheese

Fake cheese

I spend two weeks deciding whether to buy socks and I use items until they fall apart. This also means many times in my personal and work-life, I’ve ignored signs for me to end something before it gets worse. But I don’t. Despite every indication from my intuition, I hang on for dear life.

Thus it was incredibly difficult for me to throw away what is arguably the world’s most hideous food item:

Parmesan topping.
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Sadder (Older) But Wiser Gal For Me

Two noteworthy things happened recently. One, I talked with my friend Gary about one of our favorite musicals: The Music Man. Two, I had a conversation with passionate sipandgogirl.com contributor Crazy Spectacular about dating.

The two events intersected in the most fascinating way.

I was chatting via Facebook’s personal messaging system with Crazy Spectacular and told her about an ex-boyfriend posting compromising photos of a woman.

She went to that man’s Facebook page and contacted me in horror. But it wasn’t the photos of the woman that gave her pause. It was the photos of the man. She was stunned he was 20 years older than me.
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